A new study by IEECP, “Make Energy Efficiency Visible in the Energy Mix”, outlines the need for energy efficiency to be fully considered as an energy resource, starting with integrating it in the way to represent the energy mix.
The new Energy Efficiency Directive, adopted last July 2023, enforces the principle of “energy efficiency first” as a fundamental principle of the EU’s energy policy, reflecting the importance that the EU attaches to energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is a resource that allows us to meet our energy needs while using less energy. We can cut our energy expenses, dependence on imported fossil fuels, and CO2 emissions. But it is not yet at the forefront of the EU or national energy mix. The energy efficiency share is not represented in figures describing the energy mix and so is not visible in the overall energy picture. This is one of the reasons why energy efficiency is not prioritised in planning, policymaking, and investment.
“Energy efficiency is considered the first fuel because there is no cleaner and cheaper energy than one that has not been consumed’’, Katarzyna Wardal-Szmit (Knauf Insulation’s EU Public Affairs Manager).
Out of sight, out of mind- how can we get energy efficiency recognised as an energy resource?
The IEECP research, “Make Energy Efficiency Visible in the Energy Mix,”, which was supported by Knauf Insulation and the European Climate Foundation, addresses the issue of energy efficiency visibility. The report emphasises how energy efficiency is critical to the European Union’s energy system but is not currently reflected in the primary energy mix data. Researchers reviewed current major publications on energy data, and suggested ways to integrate energy savings next to the other energy sources such as renewables, gas, and coal, in the energy mix figures: seven actions are outlined in the report:
- Action 1: Integrating energy efficiency in the energy mix
- Action 2: Integrating the energy mix in the energy efficiency publications
- Action 3: Making energy efficiency visible in forward-looking scenarios
- Action 4: Allocate means to data collection in line with data needs
- Action 5: Establish a European working group on energy efficiency data
- Action 6: Improving the visibility of the results of energy efficiency policies
- Action 7: Highlighting the topical impacts of energy efficiency
Usual practises and conceptions of energy statistics (e.g., classical conception of energy flows), data issues (e.g., scope of official statistics, time lag in data availability), or the necessity for methodology agreements are some of the reasons why energy efficiency data are set aside. However, all statistics necessitate methodological decisions and, as a result, agreements. Experience with assessing energy efficiency improvements suggests that such an agreement is technically achievable. It takes political will for it to become a reality.
The primary purpose of including energy efficiency data into the main energy figures is to put energy efficiency at the forefront of the larger energy debate. The study reintroduces energy efficiency into the energy mix equation.
Download the study here and find out more about how “the findings provide policymakers and market players with the insight they need to change the perspective on energy systems and give energy efficiency the prominence it deserves in cost-effective and sustainable energy strategies” (Jean-Sébastien Broc, IEECP researcher and consultant).
If you want to know more about the figure below, have a look at the report!